My First True Crime Blog-Brandi Laurent
If any of you read the “About” section (and really, why would you?!) you’d know I have another blog called Zerogossip.com. On that blog I focused on just about anything but always kept an eye out for missing person cases. I wrote hundreds of entries and had thousands of comments. Then a hacker came in and wiped most of the blog out. However, through the magic of the “Wayback Machine” I’ve been able to find the posts that sort of wrap things up about a missing woman named Brandi Laurent and the interviews I did with her family and friends. I see at least one similarity between Brandi’s and Nikki’s case. See if you can find more. This is part 1.
This will be Part 1 of a who knows how many part blog regarding my communications with Leo Laurent. It’s much too long to be one blog.
“I’ll talk to you because you are not a true journalist. You are a blogger and bloggers are the journalists of the future.”
That’s pretty much how my conversation with Leo Laurent started. But to get a true sense of how it all began, you need to go back to September 15. Brandi Laurent had been missing since August 3. I never heard of her and hadn’t seen anything about her on the news. I happened to stumble across her story on a website that features crimes involving people on MySpace. The story was a mother had vanished leaving behind her husband and two children. Not too unusual unfortunately but what made this different was the fact she had written a blog explaining why she had left two days after. Then, nothing. Had that information about the mystery blog not been out there, I would have likely skipped on by. But there was something very odd about it and I wanted to explore it more. I went to Brandi’s MySpace page and read the mystery blog. It looked believable to me and apparently even believable to her mother Anita Moody who commented back in the strongest of language telling Brandi to come to her senses and return. As I continued reading the comments, it was becoming clear to Brandi’s sister and then her mother that something was not right with the blog.
OK, NOW we have a mystery. I had no idea what happened. But I figured if I do something, anything, perhaps someone, somewhere will have information…either they’ve seen her, or they know something. So, I contacted Anita. We chatted for the first time September 20 and chatted for 90 minutes. Up until this time, I was thinking she either ran away like she supposedly wrote or was drugged up somewhere. The local news stories that came out quoted Leo as saying she had been on a drug binge and left in a stupor. So, to be truthful, that’s what I believed going into this. We talked about Brandi as a mother and the struggles she had in her marriage. We also talked about “her” last blog. Here is an excerpt of our conversation:
|9/20/2007||10:08:16 PM||Holliston||Anita||Do you have any thoughts as to who would have written it? It did include some private information about your family.|
|9/20/2007||10:09:26 PM||Anita||Holliston||well let me say it like this….Leo knows alot of private information about our family, and he could have told anyone he what he knows|
This was the first time a light bulb went off in my head. Could Leo have done this? There was only one way to find out. I was hesitant at first. I mean, if he did have something to do with this, do I really want to strike up a conversation with a murderer? Haven’t done that before. Most of my interviews are with pop stars and actors. This was taking things to a whole new level. Remember, ZeroGossip.com is my hobby…not a job. I can walk away at any time. But, I couldn’t. I sent Leo a message explaining that I wanted to help get the word out about Brandi and I’d like to talk to him. And I waited.
Five days later, he responded. The police had taken his computers, he said, so his internet access was limited. But he said he would be glad to talk to me. For me that was a bit of a relief. Would someone involved in a crime, and at this point, I didn’t know there was a crime, be willing to talk? Could this be a man who was caught up in something as simple as his wife leaving him? All these thoughts ran through my head. He wanted me to call him on his cell phone. Great. So far, with all my interviews, I had done them through instant messages or email. This would be the first time I’d have to shed some of my anonymity and actually talk to someone. I called and got his voicemail. I left a message and waited again. Several hours later, he called me back but he wasn’t sure exactly who he was calling. It was about 10:15 p.m. on September 25. Once we established who I was, he said he’d call me back in 10 minutes as he had to put Peyton to bed. I waited again. He didn’t call back. The next day I tried calling again. Three times I got his voicemail and three times I left a message. Nothing. I thought it was strange. I was picturing a distraught husband being a little more willing to get the word out. After all, he too wrote a comment on “Brandi’s blog.”
Brandi……I am sure that you can see by the responses and the comments that you have much support here at home. Some may sound harsh, but are posted out of deep love. Please take that into consideration. I don’t understand at all what you are doing. You always knew that you were all that I had, my best friend and my wife, but now what have you left the girls to think. I feel empty inside and lost without you. I constantly expect you to walk through the door. I don’t agree with your choices, but just like the mistakes I made the only way to fix it is to make the right choice starting now. Until you make the right choice to turn the situation around it will not get any better. Please, Brandi, I am so worried and dying inside to have a chance to talk to you. I promise I will not argue with you over the situation, I just want some piece of mind for your daughters. If nothing else call your mother, she is sick and needs you to be a daughter. I want to know where the love and concern is buried at inside you that I have known for 9 years. You talk about suppressing your feelings, well these are not the feelings that need to be supressed. Brandi, I love you deeply and this is tearing me apart from the inside out. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I break down all day. I try to not let the girls see, but it is becoming harder and harder. Everyone asks about you, the phone is constantly ringing……All I can tell everyone is I don’t know. Words cannot express the pain that everyone is going through, especially Bailee. You know she is strong and trying to forge through, but I can tell, she is hurting. Peyton knows you are gone, I am no replacement for your itsy-bitsy spider, patty cake, and morning games. You complete their lives, and I alone cant be you. Come back to our family. I love you.
At 6 p.m. on September 27, a week after I first contacted him, Leo sent me a message saying he’d get back to me that night. He said he was writing out his thoughts and it was several pages long.
On September 29, he sent me an email:
Sorry I have not gotten back to you sooner. I have had a lot of last minuite things come up. I will be glad to answer these questions and some extra hopefully tonight I will get to it. I am on the way to kids soccer practice now. Please be patient it has been rough.
On September 30, I got a receipt that he read my MySpace message to him asking for an update.
On October 2, I finally heard back from him, again by email.
I will get it written this evening I am printing it now. I will handwrite answers tonight and type and send tomorrow. My computer use is limited at the time as I have to go way out of my way to get on the internet. When I do it is for very short periods.
I won’t reveal sources, of course, but in the meantime, I had been talking to a lot of people in Mississippi. I had more information in my head than I wanted, to be honest, but let’s just say, I knew things. It made me understand more why Leo was avoiding me and at the same time, kind of wishing he’d continue to ignore me.
Like most of my wishes, that was smashed the very next day. Leo sent me a message asking me to call him instead of waiting for his written version. On October 3, I had my first extended conversation with Leo Laurent.
To be continued…..